One Pose—Three Ways
As the cartoonist behind Devilguy, a friendly NYC yogi, Jennifer Grims presents the silliness of April Fool's and its light-hearted days to follow. Rarely photographed without a disguise or visual gimmick, Grims is an artist with a serious focus on alignment and safety. Her yoga clients enjoy her grounded nature juxtaposed by flashes of whimsy. Here Grims reminds us all to go upside down and see the world with handstand eyes:
YogaCity NYC: What pose did you chose and why do you like it?
Jennifer Grims: Handstand. Devilguy loves handstand as it has taught him so much about patience and effort.
YCNYC: Describe the anatomy of the first pose and body parts engaged.
JG: Bring your hands away from the wall about a leg's distance away and set yourself up in a (shortened) downward facing dog position. Bring one foot up to the height of your hips. Push (really hard) into that foot to bring your hips away from the wall and over your hands. Then bring your other foot up to meet it, so your body is like an "L." Next try to bring one of your legs up towards the ceiling. Try to keep your hands in the same place and really press up out of them to keep your arms straight. Keep your hips square. It takes some time and practice!
YCNYC: What body parts are engaged in the second pose?
JG: Set up in downward facing dog with your hands a few inches from the wall. Walk your feet in bit. Lift one leg up. Launch off of the leg that is still on the floor to try and take your lifted leg closer to the wall. Try to find strength in the hip of the launching leg (because you need to find enough power to get your hips over you hands!). Once in the pose, really press up out of the hands for straight arms. Strengthen your front body and bring your navel in. And keep the strength of your legs! Take your time with this. Take a deep breath between hops and don't force. Practice. It takes time.
YCNYC: What is the overall effect of the third pose on the body, and what does this one add to the understanding of the pose [and mind].
JG: Sit down and bring your hips close to the wall. Lay your torso fully down with your legs resting up on the wall. If your lower back feels strained, move your hips a little bit away. Otherwise have your hips as close to the wall as possible. You can also place a blanket under your low back and hips if that feels nice. Now relax and breathe. This pose is restorative and helps calm the nervous system. It is great to do after a long day on your feet. It teaches us that sometimes our approach to inversions can be simple and nourishing.
-Top photo of Jennifer Grims and squirrels from Facebook
-All Devilguy illustrations by Jennifer Grims.